Everything about this live album works. Where there is some loss of fidelity with many live recordings, Hawkins’ inspiration piano arrangements are captured as clear as day. There is a vibrancy that weaves its way through each of this album’s 15 tracks. I feel that this vibrancy is linked to Hawkins’ narration through instrumental arrangements. With every track here, From The Outside to Love in Winter, there is a sense that Hawkins is speaking through each piano roll.
Feeling Sunshine immediately throws listeners into a more frantic and energetic space; the repetition and modification of arrangements keeps the momentum high. This allows Hawkins to include a track like Standing Up. Standing Up is one of the longest tracks on Live at the Q (6:20), but Hawkins’ ability is what will keep listeners eagerly anticipating what is to follow. A twinkling soundscape awaits listeners on this track, which is filled out through the inclusion of strings. The more definite sound created by the piano creates a slow build for the track. As the track gradually ratchets up to its peak, the piano and strings push each other to the highest plateau. The disc closes up with The Void, a track that acts simultaneously to close up the recording and establish possible paths for Hawkins to go in the future.
Live at the Q is a wonderful collection of compositions by Fiona Joy Hawkins, and it provides the best way to experience a live Hawkins experience. I have no doubt in my mind that there will be an American tour in the near future, but until then, Live at the Q will remain in my CD player. Check it out today if you would like to hear how contemporary and effecting instrumental, piano-based music can truly be.
Top Tracks: View From My Studio, Flight of the Albatross
Fiona Joy Hawkins – Live At The Q (CD) / 2012 Self / 15 Tracks / http://www.fionajoyhawkins.com.au/